Holyrood voting system 'hard to understand' says top official

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The system used to elect MSPs has been called into question by the head of the Scottish Parliament who admits its "hard to understand."

Sir Paul Grice, Holyrood's chief executive, also suggested there should be a more collegiate approach between political parties under the hybrid PR/first past the post system which is used.

The system used to elect MSPs is "hard to understand"

The system used to elect MSPs is "hard to understand"

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Scots have two votes to elect their MSPs. The first produces the 73 traditional "first-past-the-post"constituency MSPs, while the other returns the 59 regional list members who are elected through a proportional representation system.

"It's a complicated system," Sir Paul told the Herald.
"Do people really understand? It is hard to understand d'Hondt (the system which allocates list seats.)

"It works in the sense that it retains the constituency link, which I think was felt to be important. But it's naturally a hybrid. It's not pure proportional representation (PR). So that complexity is a question mark over it still, I think."

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He was speaking as Holyrood approaches the 20th anniversary of its first sitting tomorrow and also raised concerns that parties can be expected to form a Government within a week after Holyrood elections when there is "no clear winner."

He added: "I genuinely think it'll take time to bed down or there will be a bit of a different electoral system. What I don't think will happen is that we'll give up and think `Well actually let's just go back to winner-takes-all first-past-the-post.'"